South Korea, as the world knows it today, is one of the more economically successful countries in South East Asia. […]
The country of Japan is one that is rife is deep history and political reforms. Through the history of Japan, […]» Read more
South Korea, as the world knows it today, is one of the more economically successful countries in South East Asia. […]
Everyone knows Queen Elizabeth I. She ushered in what is known as the Golden Age of England. In order for […]
Everyone who loves history and historic political reform knows Queen Isabella Join us as we take a closer look at […]
The Politics Counter is going to be discussing one of the highly praised political figures of British history: Queen Elizabeth […]
Arguably one of the more divisive players in the field of national and international politics, Donald Trump is one to watch. We take a look at some of the political reforms he wants to put into action.
Donald John Trump is presently serving as the 45th President of the USA. Prior to this, he was best known for his businesses and television show. He is also quite well known for his lavish lifestyle and the Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pageants.
He has had his share of controversies regarding bankruptcies and legal cases that involved his casinos. Trump has been hot and cold about the concept of politics. It seemed that he was going to run for office back in 1987—even dropping quite a sum on ads that professed his political inclinations. Nothing came out of that.
It was also thought that he was running for the office of the President in 1998 and several presidential election years thereafter—still nothing concrete had occurred. He did run for the office of Governor of New York twice but was not successful.
Trump has also been quite critical of past Democratic presidents, Barack Obama in particular. Trump had consistently made public statements regarding Obama’s supposed non-US citizen status. When Obama had produced both his short-form and long-form birth certificates, Trump took credit for protracting Obama’s “transparency”.
Trump later on went to demand to see Obama’s transcript of grades as the former had doubted that the latter could not have had the grades necessary to be accepted in an Ivy League School. When the media later asked Trump about Obama’s non-US citizen status (per Trump’s own statements) he goes on to claim that it was Hillary Clinton that started the rumors.
It was not until the 2016 Presidential Election that Trump would make a big impact into the sphere of American politics. Trump’s rallying cry was “Make America Great Again”. These are his biggest platforms:
One of Trump’s primary platforms was to be tough on illegal immigrants. The concept of building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico was being floated around. He had even claimed that Mexico will have to be the one to pay for it…or else.
Trump has also vowed harsh penalties for sanctuary cities that harbor illegal immigrants or the children who have been born on American soil.
Trump says that it is utterly terrible that a majority of the jobs that are meant of Americans are being outsourced. During his campaign, he had promised his voters that he would be making more jobs available for American citizens.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the project of the Obama administration which enabled affordable healthcare for millions of Americans. While the system was not perfect, it was still able to help many. Trump has been after the ACA since day 1.
Trump has always exclaimed that certain sectors have bloated funding. The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA is one such “sector” which will have its funding cut by about a third of its original budget. This will mean the loss of nearly 3,900 jobs. Trump claims that the funding taken from bloated sectors will go toward “better” sectors which will “create a big number of jobs”. While he cannot state specifically how many, he has said “A large number. Huge!”
Trump has spoken out against Islamic terrorist acts time and time again. Trump’s stance is to boost the budget for the military in order to deal with the Islamic threat “once and for all”.
Since taking up office, Trump has said a lot of inflammatory sentiments. The thing is, with technology available today and how fast it is to fact-check, it has been found that a lot of Trump’s statements were false. However, Trump has concluded that there is a media plot to take whatever he says out of context.
Never mind the fact that his words are all taken verbatim. The American public is now highly divided with those who find Trump’s statements and what he stands for to be completely repulsive and not at all what a president should be.
On the opposite vein of things, Trump has enjoyed a massive following (which is why he won). What is troublesome to many is the fact that Trump has been associated with “Alt-Right” personalities. These people are the newest faces of the White Supremacy movement. As America is one of the more diverse populations in the world, the resurgence of the White Supremacy is highly troubling.
Since winning the elections, many families of color have started to migrate to Canada. One of Trump’s infamous first acts as president was to sign a Travel Ban. Trump’s travel ban will suspend entry to the US for any refugees for around 120 days. The travel ban was implemented immediately after Trump signed his executive order.
As Trump has been aiming to repeal the ACA with not actual plan for a replacement, millions of Americans will not be able to afford their medical needs.
The travel ban that Trump signed also affects citizens from the Middle East. What is curious is the fact that several countries where Trump does not have business relationships in are not part of the ban despite being in the Middle East as well.
Trump has also pulled out of the Paris Agreement which was supposed to be one of the best ways to slow down and eventually counteract climate change. Trump, however, has said that he does not believe in the concept of climate change and that is it something that requires further study.
A hot topic in the middle of 2017 was Trump’s exchanges with the North Korean Leader Kim Jung-Un. Trump, instead of de-escalating the issue, added more fuel to the fire by warning that if North Korea was to persist in their missile testing or any further provocation against the US would be met with “Fire and Fury” (whatever that means).
The country of Japan is one that is rife is deep history and political reforms. Through the history of Japan, there have been numerous reforms that have massive effects on the lives of those that lived in Japan and for other countries as well. Around the mid-1500s, Japan was ruled by another military leader. Today, we take a look at the political reform that brought an end to the Shogunate.
A Shogun is the title that is conferred upon someone who is considered to be the chief military head. To be more specific, a shogun was someone who was the absolute military leader. It is a title that is only given by the Emperor and no one else.
For most of Japan’s history, they have had a feudalistic or a militaristic form of government. This meant that almost every region had a Shogun and they kept the peace. They were supposed to be loyal to the reigning royal family of Japan and for quite a time, they were.
As they had dominion over their particular sections of land and provinces, they had the power to enact their own policies within their territories. They were, in effect, little kings in their own military enforced domain.
Back when the Emperor of Japan still held power, his family and the nobility had hired Samurai to keep the peace. As the Samurai gained more influence and authority over people, they started to come together than become more powerful than the people who had raised them into their positions of honor.
They even became more powerful than the government and therefore established their own form of militaristic government: the Shogunate. As military might were under the control of the Shoguns, they started thinking about who should truly be in charge of the country. After all, if you had the biggest guns, wouldn’t you start thinking that you should be in charge?
They already have complete dominion over their territories and they were free to enact changes to their provinces and were known to go to war with each other. While the Shogunate allowed the Emperor to retain his title and his position, it was clear that it was the Shogun that wielded all of the power.
When the Mongols invaded China and tried to take over Japan, the Shogun was distracted. The Emperor and his forces decided to overthrow the Shogun and reclaim power. This, however, did not last long. After dealing with the Mongols, they now turned their full attention once again on the Emperor and overthrew him.
They established a new Shogunate called the Ashikaga Shogunate. The trouble came when the Shogun had not produced an heir to succeed him. What he had done was ask him brother (who had decided to be monk) to take over for him after he dies. The brother agrees and everything seems to be good. However, shortly after that, the Shogun has a son.
A revolution started over who should be the next Shogun. The Shogunate broke down and every province started to go to war with each other. It was a period of chaos and trials for the Japanese people. It was not until Toytotomi Hideyoshi reclaimed the whole of Japan that peace was restored. Before his death, Toyotomi had asked a council of five powerful men to watch over his son until the boy grew up to rule.
One of the councilmen, Tokugawa Ieyasu held more money and power than the rest and effectively claimed power for himself. Tokugawa started his own Shogunate from Edo. However, Tokugawa continued to allow the Emperor to keep his title and his position.
Because of Tokugawa, Japan carried an Isolationism policy. This had meant that foreigners were not particularly welcome in Japan. It always carried the threat of death for foreigners who would come into the country or for any Japanese citizens to leave.
This continued on until 1853.
When the Americans came with their war boats in 1853, they “respectfully” demanded that the Isolationism policy be lifted. It was quite clear that Japan was falling behind in terms of military might and armament.
If they were not careful, they would have been steamrolled by the countries that were building colonies all over the world like Britain, Russia, and the US. In response to this, the most recent man to sit on the throne of Japan, Emperor Meiji along with his supporters realized that if they did not take the initiative to establish nationalistic rule and policies, they would simply be annexed by a different superpower.
With western armaments and western tactics, the Emperor and his men made quick work of the Shogunate. If you have ever seen the movie “The Last Samurai”, this was pretty much it. The Emperor and the newly developed Japan Army were effectively consolidating the power and governance under the royal family once more.
Under the Shogunate, the military was primarily comprised of the Samurai and people who were completely loyal to the Shogun. The Meiji restoration and the Oligarchs behind this systematically disenfranchised and abolished the Samurai class. They even outlawed the wearing of Katana—which Samurai used to showcase their status.
They then instituted nationwide conscription into the army. Every male, once reaching the age of 21, will be serving at least 4 years in the army and 3 years as a military reserve.
The Meiji government went on to establish a national dialect.
The Meiji government knew that they needed to catch up in terms of arms and ability to produce war machines. As such, the industrial growth of Japan was started. Railways were started and modern form of communication was started.
With Japan opening its boarders, western countries like the US got to take advantage of the trade route. Since Japan was focused on establishing stronger militaries for itself, America was only too happy “to help out” by selling guns to their ‘friends’, the Japanese.
What used to be one of the strongest royal families in Europe found themselves at the end of their run. Today, we take a look at what political reforms were borne out of the French Revolution.
One of the stark examples of how people can topple long established governments, the French Revolution is often heralded. It was at a time when the people of France long starved and taxed, and lived in horrid squalor had finally had enough.
At this point in time, France was bankrupt. This was in part due to the many wars they have had and the massive expenditures that the royal family had made toward their lavish parties and lifestyles which were—quite sadly—expected of them. The largest expenditure was the Palace of Versailles. The economic standing of France was bleak.
Wars are expensive and this also meant that a lot of the men who could have been used for local labor were sent off to secure borders and went on random skirmishes. It also did not help that for several years before the spark of the revolution, the agricultural sector was not doing good as well. There was not enough harvest to meet demand.
Infrastructure was bad as well, making the roads difficult. Transportation was also terrible—this is something that also led to whatever crops being harvested spoiling before reaching its proper destination. It was, a terrible political powder keg waiting to be struck.
If you are a fan of Broadway Musicals, Les Miserables is based off of that time period. You can have a pretty firm grasp of how utterly miserable it was to not be part of the upper echelon of French society. The way that the hierarchy of governance and living was made meant that the rich barely felt the hunger and misery. It was the middle and lower classes that were progressively decaying into a truly impossible state of living.
The authority of the royal family was stripped. They were some that hesitated to completely abolish the monarchy. The idea of a constitutional monarchy was floated around. However, tensions were high and people demanded justice.
The popular notion at the time was for a more Republic style of governance.
One of the first things that happened after the revolution was to nationalize the lands and holdings of the Catholic Church upon French soil. The monies that were gained from this move were used to pay off any debt that was owed to the public.
As there was more money going around for the procurement of goods, it was inevitable that there would be an inflation of prices. One of the reforms was to set a regular price for all goods regardless of its availability or lack thereof. This helped keep the economy from creating a bubble that would burst from unsustainable market practices.
At the time when the monarchy was completely abolished and the Republic was established, people were generally high on victory. Before the revolution, the masses did not hold any sway whatsoever regarding political policies. All the major decisions were left entirely up to the monarchy and their advisers.
This had meant that people who had no idea what it was like to be of the lower class were making decisions that had great impacts upon the lives of people they would never meet. Now that the revolution was successful, the people now felt hope that their lives would now be better. What they had to go through first was a severe decline in their economic state.
It was only until the real work trickled in that France was subjected to many other wars in the colonies and a continued lack of food. There was a lot of changes that had to be done like the addressing of the lack of employment and fair wages. The right to suffrage was also discussed.
After the revolution, a lot of the men from the masses were given the right to vote—normally, the votes were for the nobles and the monarchy. The success of the revolution helped to empower the masses. It gave them the solid proof example that the people could rise up and enact reforms and counteract reforms that were made by unsuited rulers.
Masses were now able to truly experience freedom in terms of thought, speech, faith, and even the something so simple as owning land.
After the revolution, the Declaration of Rights of Man enabled the concept of human rights. All men, even the slaves in the colonies, were declared free men. They were now able to voice their opinions and criticism of those in power—something that could have had you killed when the monarchs were in charge.
When King Louis XVI and his wife were executed, the other monarchs of the surrounding countries were scandalized. The murder of a ruling family was pretty much unheard of—especially since it was the masses that enabled this to happen.
It was understandable that the monarchs of the nearby countries felt threatened over what had happened with France and France’s ruling family. The idea of if it happened to them, it could truly happen to them as well. While at first, Britain supported the French Revolution (why wouldn’t they) this support eventually turned sour when reports of what happened to Louis XVI started to spread.
There was a massive emigration that also occurred during the revolution. As such, a lot of surrounding countries experienced an influx of immigrants.
There was now a sort of domino effect that trickled outward from France to other parts of Europe. Even after Napoleon Bonaparte established his dictatorship, the groundwork was already made for a revolution to oust him. A lot of historians often point to the French Revolution as a pivotal moment in our collective history.
The first few discussions for The Politics Counter were about monarchies. While we suspect that we shall be touching upon monarchies in the future, today we shall be touching about the concept of constitutional monarchies.
It seems that once countries movies past the ideas of small communities of people, the normal form of government became the nobility which turned into the monarchies. It was not just the big European nations of Spain, France, or England that had monarchies as their governing body.
In Asia, the many different countries also had monarchies. The Japanese had once believed that their Emperor was a living God. Every country has had its own set of beliefs about their ruling families. Monarchies through the various ages have been solely responsible for all the policies that affected the lives of their citizens. Certain policies had long-reaching consequences—not all of them positive.
There were massive revolutions that were held in order to topple certain dynasties—only to replace them with other ruling families. This was pretty much the norm back then. However, it all reached a point where people, in general, no longer wanted to live under the yolk and caprice of a few people in power.
For some monarchies, they were completely removed from their lofty positions and the entire concept of the monarchy was demolished. France once had a powerful royal family that went head to head against the royal families of Spain, England, and the other nearby countries with their own royal families.
When the French Royal family’s lifestyle was no longer sustainable for the people since it was their taxes that were paying for the extravagant days of frivolity, there was a breaking point. After our collective civilization started the march toward the more modern world as we know it today, there was a massive call to sustain the roots to the past. For a lot of countries, this meant their royal families. Whether it was something that their citizens liked or not, royal families often have the best kept records of their lineages and events.
Royal families often came with official bookkeepers and official historians who have carefully preserved archives of the long histories of every country and who have been in power. Therefore, there were several countries that began to recognize the importance of keeping this tie to the past alive.
However, there was one core thing that a lot of these countries agreed on: monarchies should not be able to wield absolute authority over the lives of their people.
A constitutional monarchy is what was borne out of the desire to keep the traditions alive but limit the authority the royal family was able to hold. Without a doubt, the most popular constitutional monarchy belongs to England.
A constitutional monarchy, strictly by its definition is a limited form of an absolute monarchy. While the royal family—the head of the family, to be specific—is considered to be the head of state, the things that they are allowed to do (like passing laws and policies) need to be looked over and passed by parliament.
The present day royal family of England is sustained from both the Sovereign Grant and the Privy Purse. This means that part of what enables the royal family to function as figureheads are paid by the taxes of the English people.
As the power of the royal families where rather limited by the switch to constitutional monarchies, there was a comfort felt by the ordinary citizens. As any policies or reforms that their royals would make would have to be subject to a parliamentary hearing, this meant that the days where there would be peace one day and a royally declared war the next is gone.
Of course, there were those who were heavily invested in the longevity of the royal family like the nobility. The switch to constitutional monarchies was disastrous for some of them. It is, after all, a well-known and almost expected turn of affairs for there to be a power play made between warring factions. Much like how the Seymour family had a long held animosity for the Howards.
The people of the lower classes were glad of the reform as this meant that the occurrence of warring nobility met with an imperceptible halt. Instead of focusing their energies on aligning themselves with the family on top, the nation could now focus with moving forward economically and culturally.
A constitutional monarchy also meant that the people and the country were spared from the brash and often disastrous policies of inept rulers on the throne. The only setback with a royal family as famous as the Windsor family was primarily felt by the Windsor family themselves.
It must feel like they were life-sized dolls the public kept under a spotlight for their entertainment. This is something that has been remarked time and time again. There is a certain degree of difficulty that goes with being born or marrying into a royal family under a constitutional monarchy. If the obsession with royal families is anything to go by, it is one of the more stressful situations anyone can find themselves in.
As figureheads, the royal family is expected to act, dress, speak, and think a certain way. So the claim that they live their lives for the consumption of others is not so farfetched.
When the more prominent European countries were making the switch from absolute monarchies to constitutional ones, there was an unmistakable ripple that went through the lands and the people that lived there. Warring states no longer had to worry about the day when a fickle royal would march their army to war against a vastly superior one.
Other countries started to adopt constitutional monarchies for their own countries and from there, even more countries made the switch. Not only does this mean that these countries were able to preserve a deep tie with the past. But they also managed to create a good gate for the future.
It was around mid-2016 that the world watched as the United Kingdom systematically voted to leave the European Union. This is one political reform that we get to see unfold before our very eyes. History is great but it is even better to be a part of it and to witness it. The Political Counter is keeping close tabs on this political reform and its potential ripple into the rest of the EU.
The exit of the UK from the EU is a rather surprising move given its history with trying to get into the EU in the first place. Before the UK was made an honorary member of the European Economic Community or the EEC, they went through a bit of difficulty.
At the time the French President, Charles de Gaulle, was not inclined to have the UK join and kept blocking it whenever he could. It was not particularly clear as to why that was but it was only until after de Gaulle had left his office that the UK was able to join—this was in 1972.
What was odd was that around three years after that fact was that the UK held its first referendum on whether or not they were going to stay as part of the European Communities (EC). While there were some divisions between the sections—particularly the Labour Party—it was still a unanimous decision to stay as part of the EC. The vote resulted in about a little over 67% of “stay” votes.
It was not until 1993 that the term “European Union” came about. It was due to the Maastricht Treaty that the EC officially shed that title and took on the name of EU. It is strange that since being part of the EU, there have been more and more members of their politics that were geared toward Eurosceptic views.
It was so prominent that even two parties to champion these views were formed: UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the so called Eurosceptic Conservative Party.
From what we can tell, it all started in 2012. UK’s prime minister at the time, David Cameron, expressed that he was rejecting any calls or requests for a referendum on their membership with the EU. However, he had also said that there would be the possibility of a referendum at a latter date.
From what we gathered, this was a sort of attempt to put out political feelers for any potential reactions for the idea. This was something that the UKIP and the Conservative Party pounced upon without any delay.
They started to lobby for support, promising a referendum that will ultimately decide their EU membership if they were to be elected in the 2015 elections. It was surprising that it was later in 2015 that the Conservative Party managed to win. So of course, true to form, they submitted the EU Referendum Act 2015 into Parliament for consideration.
As of the latter part of December in 2015, the general population of the UK had a clear inclination to stay with the EU. This did not deter the conservative groups. They immediately launched massive campaigns to “VOTE LEAVE”. It also followed that those that wanted to stay with EU also launched their own campaigns.
During this point in time, there was a lot of fear going around. It was so prevalent that the term “Project Fear” was once again the favorite of media outlets everywhere.
This is the popularly used word to refer to the result of UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This was formalized during a referendum held on the 23rd of June. When the votes were tallied, nearly 52% of the voters had voted to leave the EU.
From that point, it would take about two years before the full withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the date of election ratification. This is in line with Article 50 of the Constitution.
As Brexit is still not finalized and the UK is still presently part of the European Union, the effects of the withdrawal are not still fully scoped out. There have been projections of how the market was going to crash or that there were going to be a mass expulsion of non-UK citizens that were residing there. It was also believed that the influx of immigrants would suddenly taper off and there would be a mass exodus. However, these are believed to be fear tactics that were used by those that had voted to stay.
So far, the rate of immigration into the UK is still above that of emigration. There are, however, some that conjecture that these were the people that had their papers processed before the referendum. So if there is to be any truth to the conjecture, only prolonged observation will tell.
One effect of Brexit was a revival of Scottish independence referendum. While the first referendum that Scotland held ended up with them voting to stay, everything seemed to change after the Brexit vote.
There are presently, a lot of feasibility studies being conducted in order to fully ascertain the effects of Brexit on UK citizens.
When the withdrawal of the UK finalizes, there will be certain trade agreements and bonuses that will no longer be part of. Other countries will need to renegotiate their agreements with a wholly independent United Kingdom.
The surrounding countries will have to rebuild their immigration protocols regarding UK residents and citizens. As of March 2017, British Immigration Offices had confirmed that they would no longer be allowed to make use of the ports of the Republic of Ireland. France has also expressed that once Britain leaves the EU, their border will no be Calais—instead it will be Dover.
Time will only tell if there will be more EU countries will follow Ireland and France’s lead. What other EU countries have expressed is that with Britain withdrawing, the monies which the UK contributes would be a great loss.
South Korea, as the world knows it today, is one of the more economically successful countries in South East Asia. It was not always so. Today, we take a look at the political reform that built South Korea.
Upon the earliest records of their history, South Korea was once one of three kingdoms. These three kingdoms were called Silla, Baekje, and Goguryeo. These three kingdoms were unified under the highly militaristic kingdom of Goguryeo. However, if there was anything that history taught us militaristic might is not the only way to conquer a nation.
The kingdom of Silla was considered to be the smallest and weakest in terms of economics and military might. However, what they did have was something that Littlefinger of Game of Thrones would be proud of: scheming and diplomacy. Silla allied itself with larger nations like Tang China. This was the period when the once three kingdoms entered into a period of prolonged unification.
There was significant progress in terms of the stability and prosperity of the unified kingdom. However, it later decayed with the reemergence of the kingdoms of Baekje and Goguryeo. The concept of three kingdoms once again came to be until it was through a descendant of the Goguryeo nobility brought about another call for unification.
If you are wondering how a prosperous kingdom was brought to its knees, you will find the usual suspect: invasion. The Mongols continued to launch raids and sieges over the span of thirty years which led to a battered and severely weakened kingdom.
We fast forward to several hundreds of years later and the world is coming down from the brink of WWII. Japan had taken over a multitude of countries in the South East Asia. Following the two Atomic Bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, their emperor had surrendered his empire to the Allied Powers.
The Allied Powers, the UN, China, and Russia were in talks over what to do with Korea. During the time that Japan had full control of Korea, it used the southern part of the country for the primary agricultural needs to sustain their forces and to send back to Japan. The northern part of Korea was used heavily for industry and the production of war machines.
While there were agreements that Korea would be liberated, the Soviet Union marched swiftly into the north-eastern part of Korea and the US was quick to be anxious about the whole of Korea being subjected to Russian rule. That said, the US dispatched some men to secure the southern part of Korea and started talks for the security and supposed liberation of Korea as a whole.
However, what they agreed upon was a sort of “trusteeship” that put Korea under the command of the Allies, the Soviet Union, China, and even Britain. This trusteeship was supposed to last a maximum of five years. There was a massive outcry from many Southern Korean citizens that they be declared independent immediately.
The thing was there was the existence of the Korean Communist Party in the northern part of Korea that welcomed the trusteeship. This inevitably led to a deepened rift between the North and the South. It became so bad that it was eventually made it criminally punishable to cross the border between the two sides without the necessary papers of permission.
It was not until much later that several elections were attempted to be held in the Southern part of Korea. This was something that Russia vehemently rejected and tried to block. At the time, the Soviet Union still held the northern part of Korea. The US had urged the UN to intervene in order to get a form of government started in Korea.
While there was an election in the South, Russia and the Northern part of Korea maintained that regardless of the results, it was not binding. It was only around 1948 that the Republic of Korea was formed in the South and took control from the US. Around the same time, the North also held their own form of “elections” and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was born with Kim Il-sung as their prime minister.
The two Korean territories remain divided and at a constant state of passive war. The divide did not go quite well for both sides during the early onset of their respective government formations. There was a massive spate of rebellions and massacres in South Korea. One of them was the quelling of the Jeju Islanders.
For a large part of the South Korean history, they were relatively poor and were on shaky political standing. However, this did not last either. Now, South Korea is best known for their meteoric rise from one of the poorest economies to one of the best. It all started at around the 1960s where the manufacturing sector of South Korea started turning in massive profits.
This meant that South Korean citizens were experiencing a massive influx in employment opportunities which resulted in healthy finances that they diverted into infrastructure and education for the new generation. Other than their economy, the people of South Korea aimed to rehabilitate the way the world looked at them as a nation.
As North Korea progressively got more negative press, South Korea sprung into action. Their citizens, with very little provocation from their government, all started to participate in massive PR campaigns to jump start the tourism. It also helped that several hi-tech industries like Hyundai had a successful reception in the international market.
South Korea is now known to be the plastic surgery capital of the world. As such, there is a steady stream of foreigners aiming to take advantage of the more affordable plastic surgery rates. South Korea also has a thriving entertainment industry. This has helped to create a thriving interest in everything that South Korea has to offer.
Trade with South Korea has usually ended up profitable for both parties. The reform that made South Korea truly helped to bring out one of the culturally rich and economically sound countries of today.
Everyone knows Queen Elizabeth I. She ushered in what is known as the Golden Age of England. In order for her to have been able to do all her revolutionary work, someone must have stirred things up. Today, we discuss the political reformation of Henry VIII.
Henry Tudor or Henry VIII is arguably one of the more famous English monarchs in history. He is best known for having six wives in his tenure as rule of England.
He was not originally meant to rule England. He was the younger of two sons. If anything, he was being groomed for an eventual life with the clergy. As a young man, he was trained primarily as a spare for his older brother Arthur. When his elder brother died, he was suddenly propelled into the position of crown prince of England. It was not until the death of his father Henry VII that he ascended the throne.
At the time, England was till recovering from a massive upheaval following the Tudor-Plantagenet wars. Henry VIII was generally considered to be a handsome, charming, athletic, and generally adored Prince. When he ascended the throne, everyone had high hopes.
In his lifetime, Henry VIII enacted a lot of political reforms that all had a massive impact on England as we know it today.
Henry VIII was a rather active individual. He had a great passion for poetry, song, and sport. His father, Henry VII, only saw these as frivolous tools which were used to show off. Henry VII was a warrior, having won his kingdom through a bloody battle.
When Henry VIII came into power, he placed much emphasis on the need to patronize and tend to the burgeoning market for arts, athletics, and music.
One of the reforms that Henry VIII is well-known for is his break from Rome and the influence of the Catholic Church. The three big superpowers England, Spain, and France were all predominantly Catholic in their faith. As such, they all lived under the guidance and laws of the Vatican and its Pope.
Henry VIII wanted a male heir. He was fully convinced that he could not get one from his wife, Catherine of Aragon. He was also avidly pursuing his official mistress, Anne Boleyn. However, as Catherine has been his lawful queen of nearly twenty years, it would have required severe grounds and a Papal dispensation to end the marriage.
As Rome was fully on the side of the Catholic Queen, they delayed upon their rulings—fully convinced that Henry VIII was going to tire of his mistress and simply go back to his wife. However, this was not what happened at all. Frustrated and upset that he was not getting his way, this ushered in the religious reformation that had serious political implications.
With the influence of the Boleyn family, Henry VIII was ushered closer to the concept of Protestantism. The result is what is greatly known as the English Reformation.
When Henry VIII championed arts, music, and sport he laid the foundation of an industry that would help keep England at the height of trade. The quest for the latest fashion, silks, costumes, and food ushered in commerce and business opportunities for the lower classes.
Once Henry broke from the Catholic religion, he turned his sights upon the various monasteries that dotted along the formerly predominantly Catholic country. The monasteries carried statues that were adorned in fine silks and jewels. There were also coffers full of tithes and donations to the church. All these were seized and delivered straight to the coffers of the crown.
As such, England became one of the richest countries in Europe. With the extra monies now secured from the monasteries, Henry built massive coastal defenses. This was, in part, due to the isolation that England now had when they broke away from the Catholic faith.
The catholic people of England suffered terribly at this point in time. It was either they submitted to the new doctrine of faith (also accept their new queen, Anne Boleyn when she was still alive) or be treasonous subjects to be put to death. Many English citizens tried to fight for their rights to practice their faith. A rebellion from the northern part of England was called the Pilgrimage of Grace. It did not end well.
When it was made plain that Henry’s England was to remain protestant with him as the absolute head of the Church of England, many of the citizens either converted to Protestantism or left the country. The ones that stayed behind were subjected to harsh punishments and even death.
The influx of commerce that was borne out of Henry’s support of arts and sport also drew in trades from other nearby countries. Merchants from other kingdoms were now drawn to England to offer their wares to satisfy royal whims.
The break from Rome isolated England from the other Catholic superpowers of France and Spain. The ruler of Spain Charles V was particularly insulted with the development as Henry VIII had cast aside Queen Catherine—the daughter of Queen Isabella I.
Both Spain and France were urged by the Pope to invade England in order to save the English people from the actions of their sovereign king. While both countries did a lot of posturing and even made peace with each other that made England nervous, it was not until much later than there were actual hostilities.
England invaded France in 1544 where they captured Boulogne and held it for near 9 years before selling it back to France. The citizens of Boulogne suffered much but that seems par for course for the covetous Henry VIII.
While in modern day England is once again a mix of a variety of cultures and religions, the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II continues to hold the title of head of the Church of England—the title conferred upon Henry VIII after his break from the Catholic influence of Rome and the Vatican.
Everyone who loves history and historic political reform knows Queen Isabella Join us as we take a closer look at the woman who ushered in an unprecedented time of reformation for Spain.
This notable figure in Spanish history is one of its mostly highly revered monarchs. She was born on the 22nd of April in 1451. She had a rather tumultuous early life with the death of her father and a half-brother sitting on the throne of Castile.
While her father had left a generous living for Isabella, her mother, and her younger brother, it was not being honored by her half-brother on the throne. Still, Isabella through her mother got an excellent education. There was quite a bit of struggle as her younger brother was taken up by the nobles as the figurehead for their rebellion. There was a largely held belief that Isabella’s half brother was an inept ruler.
She succeeded her half-brother as the reigning monarch of Castile.
Queen Isabella along with her husband, Ferdinand of Aragon, is best known for unifying Spain under one governing rule. Under their rule, there were a number of reforms that helped to bring Spain into a position of prominence and power as a nation in Europe. As there are quite a number of them, we will be focusing on the ones that made the most impact not just on the residents of Spain but even the neighboring countries.
Here are some of the political reforms she enacted:
Coming off of the rule of her half-brother, crime was incredibly bad. Henry IV of Spain spent a lot of money on luxuries but did not really pay much attention to holding up the law. As such, crime was incredibly rampant.
It was even believed that foreigners came to Castile to commit crime and leave without any worries that they would have to answer for their crimes. Isabella immediately set to work and established stricter measures for crime and their subsequent punishments.
Spain’s currency at the time was not worth much. This was in part due to the tumultuous reign of the previous ruler. It also did not help that a majority of the lands and estates of Castile had been sold off at a bare minimum of their actual worth.
Henry IV sold them off in order to make money for the Crown. It also did not help that there were several unauthorized mints throughout the nation that were generating massive amounts of coins. These coins were practically worthless as they were so easily available.
Isabella shut down a majority of these mints and established royal rule over the production of money.
While there was a time under her rule, that those who did not share the Crown’s religion were allowed to stay within the country after the fall of Granada. This was, of course, provided that they would not rebel and accept the unification of Castile and Aragon into what we know to be Spain.
It seemed that was that but a rebellion by the Moors, compounded by the massive movement to unify Spain under one religion ended up with the expulsion of both Moors and Jews alike.
Queen Isabella was a known patron of Christopher Columbus and his expeditions that led to great discoveries and new trade routes. As new sea routes were established, this led to the opportunity of massive colonization.
Henry IV’s rule was quite disastrous for the people of Castile. Crime was indeed rampant and common and there was basically no punishments meted out for offenders. Isabella immediately established a police force called the Holy Brotherhood.
Isabella also established officials in provinces to secure highways from robbers and foreign entry. The reforms regarding crime and punishment were highly successful. Pease was restored in many provinces. It was a good time for the Spanish people.
With the wars that had gone on against Portugal, the finances of Spain were not in a good state. It also did not help that there were unregulated mints producing coins of very little value. When Isabella shut down the unregulated mints, the monetary value went up once again.
This ensured that the royal family (and the country by extension) was financially more stable than it used to be.
This is one of the more drastic reforms that Isabella had enacted. A majority of the Moors and Jews had established businesses so Isabella was at first hesitant on putting them out. However, the movement for a unified religion and unified Spain eventually won out—especially after the rebellion that was instigated by the Moors.
The first few months of a Spain without Moors and Jews were celebrated by those who felt a surge in nationalistic pride. However, as the time went on, people realized that most of their business owners, doctors, and educators were Moors and Jews. What followed were years of struggle and poor health and education for the Spanish people.
When Columbus and other explorers came back with finds and natives from other discovered lands, Spain entered a Golden Age. They were suddenly heralded as the pioneers of sea navigation and new world exploration.
The explorers brought back gold and goods that bolstered the trade capability of Spain with other European nations. This helped to solidify Spain’s power and identity as a prominent nation.
While Spain was divided, it was easy for nations like Portugal to made demands and even interfere with the political climate and state. A short war ensued and eventually Isabella and Ferdinand were victorious. Isabella and her political reforms laid the groundwork for major political shifts for Spain.
Spain became a superpower nation with a unified religion and a unified people.
The Politics Counter is going to be discussing one of the highly praised political figures of British history: Queen Elizabeth I.
Elizabeth I was the last reigning Tudor monarch of her time. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second queen, Anne Boleyn. While much of her early life was lived in turmoil and massive stress, she managed to survive her father’s many mood swings and radical political shifts.
Henry VIII, in the later part of his life, was a temperamental dictator that pretty much had absolute power over his constituents. After Henry VIII died, he was succeeded by his son by third marriage. Edward VI was also a protestant and got along well with Elizabeth. At the time, Elizabeth lived with Catherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s wives.
It is said that she experienced massive trauma during this time in her life. Her “step-father” Thomas Seymour had married Catherine Parr and turned his attentions toward the young Elizabeth. There have been reports of Seymour entering Elizabeth’s chambers at night or during early in the mornings while she still slept.
It was not until Catherine Parr saw Elizabeth and Seymour in an intimate embrace that she expelled Elizabeth from her household. After Parr’s death, Seymour continued to court the young Elizabeth. Since Elizabeth was now a potential heir to the throne, Edward VI and his Lord Protector felt that this was a serious threat to them.
They had Thomas Seymour arrested and consequently beheaded. Elizabeth went on to focus on her studies which is something that se was reported to be excellent at. It seems that she had inherited her mother’s intellectual prowess and was able to master a variety of languages to the point that it was said that she spoke them as if it was her native tongue.
Edward VI’s reign was a short one. While there was some issue with proclaiming Lady Jane Grey as his successor, it was all squared away and Elizabeth’s older sister, Mary ascended to the throne. This came with its own dangers. Mary, now Mary I, was a devout Catholic and wanted to return England to its original Catholic state.
However, Elizabeth was a Protestant—like her mother, Anne—so you can see where the struggle would be. Elizabeth had to juggle the fact that she was a practicing Protestant and serving her strictly Catholic sister’s court. It was a bitter time and it probably was a sigh of relief for Elizabeth when Mary had died.
When Elizabeth I came into power, England was is debt.
England had suffered terrible losses under the rules of Edward VI and Mary I. It was with Mary I that England lost Calais as a territory. There were failed military campaigns that damaged the treasury and the military forces of England.
Therefore, a rebuilding was necessary. Reform in the fiscal sector of England needed to happen.
When Henry IV of France came into the throne, it was a rather important moment for Elizabeth. Henry IV was a Protestant. It was important for Elizabeth to help consolidate the hold of Protestantism in Europe.
When Henry IV came into power, Elizabeth sent a contingent of military personnel to help.
Mary, Queen of Scots is a pretender to the throne of England. While she was Queen of Scotland from a young age, she held virtually no power in her country. Mary was isolated and sought support from Elizabeth.
As there were people that believed that Mary’s claim to the throne was so much stronger that Elizabeth’s, the queen of England was in a precarious situation. It also did not help that Mary was a Catholic and therefore had the support of other Catholic leaders in Europe.
Mary I was not a fan of frivolity. She believed that indulging in too much of the arts distracted men from the importance of going to Church. Rather than spending time with vices, Mary I believed it was ultimately better for the soul to dedicate all free time to prayer.
When Elizabeth I came to power, she made sure that the arts were restored. Much like her father, Henry VIII, Elizabeth liked music, dancing, and song. As such, Elizabeth became the champion of many burgeoning artists of the era.
When Elizabeth ascended into the throne, the Protestants who were in hiding were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Mary I was famous for burning non-Catholics and so her reign was a very dangerous time to be a non-Catholic.
Elizabeth while a practicing Protestant, kept many of the symbols that were associated with Catholicism. She also never prosecuted any of the non-protestants in her country. She took a rather pragmatic approach when consulted about religious matters.
The taxes she imposed did not hurt her people much. She found better ways to help support the English economy rather than just simply demanding money out of the populace. One of the things she did was she made it the law to patronize wool products. This meant that English wool would be in demand and the crown would get a cut of the profits. Not only did this help create a healthy market for English wool but it also developed a sense of nationalism in the English as they patronized local products.
Elizabeth’s policies and political reforms made England stronger than ever before. It was under her that the English navy became such a powerhouse. It was also under her that England entered what is commonly known as the Golden Era.
Other countries who were once very quick to dismiss England since Henry VIII’s odd wife dilemma, now took England seriously once again. Elizabeth I’s rule and her timely political reforms laid down the foundation for the eventual successes of the British Empire.
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